Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu decided, on Tuesday evening, to appoint “Tzachi Hanegbi” from the Likud Party as head of the National Security Council, in the first official appointment announced in the upcoming government.
This came in a statement by Netanyahu, which was carried by the “Kan” channel, which is affiliated with the official Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
The appointment was a “big surprise”, given that Hanegbi was not elected to the Knesset in the legislative elections in early November due to the low position (46th on the Likud list) that he obtained in the party’s primaries last August.
However, “Kan” channel said that “Hangbi is one of Netanyahu’s confidants and enjoys his confidence, so he decided to appoint him to this sensitive position.”
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Previously, Hanegbi (65 years) held ministerial portfolios, including internal security and regional cooperation.
In his new position, Hanegbi will succeed Eyal Holata, who last month informed outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid that he intends to end his duties with the end of the current government’s term.
It should be noted that the National Security Council is a body established in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office in March 1999, at the end of Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.
The Council’s work is considered “confidential”, and among its tasks is to provide strategic advice to the Prime Minister and provide security recommendations to the government.
In a related context, the channel said, “Netanyahu decided to appoint Likud MP Amir Ohana as Speaker of the Knesset,” noting that the decision “is still unofficial, pending a meeting of the Likud parliamentary bloc tomorrow, Wednesday, to vote on it.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli Knesset announced that its interim president, Yariv Levin (Likud), had resigned from his post, in preparation for assuming a ministerial position in Netanyahu’s government, which is scheduled to be presented to the Knesset on Thursday.
For his part, Knesset member Dodi Amsalem, No. 5 on the Likud list, expressed his disappointment after Netanyahu refused to appoint him as justice minister or speaker of the Knesset.
The Hebrew “Walla” website said, “Netanyahu offered Amsalem, during a meeting that brought them together on Tuesday evening, the Ministry of Economy and Energy with expanded powers, but the latter refused.”
Amsalem wrote on his Twitter account that he would only remain a member of the Knesset, and added: “Unfortunately, this is the price you pay for loyalty and adherence to principles.”
Within the next few hours, Netanyahu will announce the appointment of other members of his party to the remaining ministerial positions, including the ministries of defense, foreign affairs and justice.
During the past few days, Netanyahu has reached coalition agreements with his partners in the prospective coalition to assume ministerial positions in his government.
The coalition includes, in addition to the Likud, parties from the far right, and includes “Otzma Yehudit” (Jewish power) and “religious Zionism”, and “Noam” and “Shas” and “United Torah Judaism” religious.
It is expected that the Israeli Knesset (parliament) will vote, Thursday, December 29, to grant confidence to the Netanyahu government.
It is noteworthy that Netanyahu held the position of prime minister for the first time between 1996 and 1999, and then for a continuous period of 12 years between 2009 and 2021.